This and That - March 20, 2023
Reminder that tonight is the district's one and only "public" meeting on the budget.
Date: Monday, March 20, 2023
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Join the Zoom Webinar
Or by phone: 253-205-0468
Webinar ID: 844 5720 4378
This meeting will also be streamed live on the SPSTV YouTube channel.
It is a virtual meeting ONLY; the district doesn't want to have to face down those pesky parents in person. Wonder how many directors on the Board will show up.
Via SPS Twitter:
The family of late educator, World Champion Drag Racer, and National Hot Rod Association Hall of Famer Al Young presented @SPSSkillsCenter with a $12,000 donation on March 10.
Young was a longtime SPS educator who was instrumental in bringing the automotive program and other CTE courses to the district. The Skills Center is honored to receive this donation, which will go towards improving equipment and supplies for students to learn and grow.
Item of interest; both Roosevelt High's jazz band as well as Garfield High's jazz band have been invited to compete in the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Festival in May. Congrats to both bands!
Via the New Yorker, a pretty hilarious story about how the tv show, Abbott Elementary, has riled up the pro-charter groups. I've tracked this on Twitter and man, those charter people can get their backs up. It is just a tv show and tv shows' characters can and do have points of view.
Abbott Elementary is a sweet comedy about a struggling public elementary school in Philadelphia. It was created by actor Quinta Brunson and she stars in it. It has already won an Emmy. The charter folk came after her personally, saying she attended charter schools her entire K-12 life. She wryly put those people in their place by noting that when she was in elementary and middle school, it was in public schools. As well, her high school was charter but got closed down after she graduated. It's so bad that the original writer of that tweet has still not retracted it.
From the article (bold mine):
The local and national growth of charter schools has been propped up by lavish support from a center-to-right spectrum of billionaires with various, sometimes overlapping desires, which include lower taxes, fewer and weakened teachers’ unions, state funding for religious schools, and a more entrepreneurial approach to public education. Prominent advocates include Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg, the Walton family, Betsy DeVos, the late Eli Broad, and Jeff Yass, reportedly the richest man in Pennsylvania.
When the “weird cash” episode of “Abbott Elementary” aired, viewers immediately speculated that Barbara was referring to Yass. Jeanne Allen, the director of Yass’s education foundation, was unamused, telling the Philadelphia Inquirer that the line was a “gratuitous slap against people with wealth” and tweeting, “This has TEACHERS UNION written all over it.”
Well, boo hoo to that.
But the show also dismantles the benevolent narrative of “escape” promulgated by the Yasses and other charter-school advocates—the notion that a public-school system cannot be rallied around and improved, only bled out and abandoned.
“Abbott” grabs this
idea around the neck in a conversation between Jacob (Chris Perfetti),
who teaches history at Abbott, and Summer (Carolyn Gilroy), an Addington
teacher who tries and fails to recruit Jacob to her school, where he’d
be, she says, “with the brightest kids from the neighborhood,” “the
cream of the crop from all over the city.” “We’re all about focussing on
the kids who have the best chance of making it out,” Summer says. (“Out
of what?” Jacob asks. He receives no answer.)
That show does NOT make school look cute and fun; it points out how hard it is to be an inner-city school.
And fyi, there is NO one in any teachers union that the dough of Gates or DeVos the Waltons. Nice try, no sale.
The problem that exists isn't as glib and easy though. The continued stalemate between the right underfunding, and the left clowning that no one is gifted and therefore the underfunding must be equitized at the expense of AL/HC, etc... mean engaged folks with smart kids are boxed out of the system. Those with resources go private, and those without demand charters.
Until the stalemate is broken, all you have is the downward spiral all the big city systems are experiencing.